Tag: mathematics

Equations in Gmail with the “TeX for Gmail” Chrome extension

Science via email

One thing scientists and engineers have to do daily is discuss collaborative work via email exchanges. This often includes the need to share and discuss mathematical equations and to represent variables with subscripts and superscripts or special characters; something that is tricky when you are emailing in plain text.

WikiImages / Pixabay

Of course it is possible to work around this problem! Email was invented by scientists, and for decades they have been communicating in this manner, using various conventions to convey the correct information using plaintext. However, if you are a Gmail user there is a nice extension that will make your equations look proper good.

Tex for GmailGmail-logo

TeX for Gmail is a Chrome browser extension that checks a Gmail email that you are writing for LaTeX markup and converts the markup to a visually prettier equation, using one of two modes. In Simple Math mode, subscripts and superscripts are correctly formatted but the current font is maintained and text remains ediatble. In Rich Math mode, the equation is rendered into TeX and replaced by an embedded image.  The email recipient doesn’t need the extension installed on their browser in order to read your nice equations!

Example

Original markup:

$E = mc^{2}$

Simple Math mode:

E = mc2

Rich Math mode:
E = mc^{2}

Issues

One problem; once the extension has converted my markup to formatted text, I cannot get the markup back. So editing a small mistake usually means re-doing all the curly brackets and other stuff that a TeX equation requires. The only workaround seems to be to stay vigilant and use Undo (Ctrl-z), but this doesn’t work when you notice a mistake in an equation that you wrote a while ago. One improvement could be the option to restore any equation to the original markup.

Conclusions

Overall, a great little tool to improve the clarity of science and maths communications over email. With a few small improvements it could be even better but it is already very usable.




Arsene Wenger unit conversion fail

“If six points is a ‘million miles away’, I don’t know what the translation of a mile into a point is.” – Arsene Wenger

According to reports, Arsene Wenger is not great at simple mathematics. He was quoted today responding to criticism by Paul Scholes that Arsenal were “a million miles away” from winning the Premier League. Wenger said in response “If six points is a ‘million miles away’, I don’t know what the translation of a mile into a point is.” Well, I couldn’t pass up the chance to help old voyeur out with that.

Solution

If 1 million miles is equivalent to 6 points

1,000,000 miles = 6 points

So, to work out the number of points equivalent to a mile we have

1 mile = 6/1,000,000 points = 0.000006 points

But how many miles to a point, goddamit?

It’s 1 million divided by six, innit.

1 point = 1,000,000/6 miles = 166666.667 miles (to 3.d.p.).